December 21, 2009 Subject:
Fun, but not Felix's best.
I want to first address another reviewer's comments regarding the racist nature of the short: while we might very well "easily guess how they choose to animate black people", there aren't any black people in the cartoon. Exploitation of racial stereotypes certainly isn't absent from the Felix oeuvre, but it is (surprisingly) absent from this short as I see it. The "missing link" Felix finds in S. Africa is, firstly, tailed, furry, and clearly simian -- NOT, in my opinion, resembling the popular black caricature of the day, and more specifically, not resembling the "Sambo" caricatures that Pat Sullivan made his living with prior to producing Felix. Secondly, I don't quite see dancing the Charleston, chewing tobacco, doing laundry, or having a multiplicity of offspring as behaviors chosen to specifically target blacks as the butt of a joke (I may be wrong, but they seem instead to target the entire, inglorious, human race). Thirdly, "Ye gods, fellers -- he says we're related to these!!" couldn't be much further removed from the Southern "black dialect" which unerringly accompanied black caricature of the era. If anything, the heels in the short are the "modern statesmen" and "cake eaters" in their preposterous get-ups. The message I take, not racist, is that if anti-evolutionists found it insulting that their distant ancestors were apes, then imagine the insult to apes to see their sorry descendants.
Controversy (or lack of it) aside, the short is an enjoyable relic from animation's earliest era. A few fun bits of character animation here and there, but this short lacks the invention and liveliness of Felix's better appearances.
July 11, 2008 Subject:
Wal-mart shoppers would faint.
Felix tries to prove that man DOES come from apes and goes to South Africa vis cable to prove his point. Now, seeing that this is 1920, I'm sure you can guess how they choose to animate black people. Nevertheless, it's not very nice. Somewhat hard to follow, but otherwise ok.